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Friday, 14 October 2011

The Anchor October 2011: Establishment of Counties

Sleepy counties put on notice
By Martin Masai
A Forum to prepare for the unfolding devolution plan fro Machakos County was stunned after it was revealed that establishment of county Government will not be automatic.
A street in Machakos Municiplaity
 Citing section the new Constitution, a Governance Consultant Ms Veronica Nduva  said allocation of counties will  be phased over three years (2013  15). “There will be criteria established to ensure that functions are only devolved to those that can perform them; that the counties that are ready and have the capacity are those to be allocated.

Quoting the Sixth schedule’s Section 15, Ms Nduva said only counties that have developed capacity to manage as much as Sh 3b will be eligible for roll out.  “Before revenue is allocated to a county, there will be criteria which has to be met; ensure that county governments are able to perform the functions allocated to them and the fiscal capacity and efficiency of county governments.”, she said.

She said leaders and professionals in counties such as Embu, Kiambu, Muranga, and Kisii, among others have developed county strategic plans while others like Kitui had set up websites, with Kakamega County formulation a Constitution for their forum in readiness for the great roll out.

Ms Nduva said County Databases are being gathered to facilitate this take off and told the professionals from Machakos that counties that will not be ready for the take off will have no one to blame. “This Constitution empowers citizens to carry their future in the hands and it is yoy responsibility to take charge of you destiny.

Ms Nduva’s unflattering remarks were made at Maanzoni Lodge where the Machakos Forums are being held under the auspices of the Machakos County Development Forum, chaired by Mr Tito Kitulu. An average of 70 professional- ranging from teachers, lawyers, architects, economists, Sociologists, University Dons, planners, businessmen, ICT specialists and Engineers, among others are attend the meetings.

Funds for development of infrastructure at county level will be allocated possibly in 2012/13 budget allocation, Nduva said adding that the national government  is tasked with building the capacity of those to take over key functions at county level

She said “The county should establish a sound financial management system and if unable to perform its functions or does not operate the financial system the national government will intervene.

In electing the governor, the functions of this position have to be taken into account; especially the role to manage and coordinate functions of the county administration and its departments and to implement legislation both national and county

She said to build a firm basis for a county, residents will need to be futuristic in our planning, map out priorities for the county, develop county strategies, have coordinated leadership and added that divisions will be a costly affair

Ms Nduva said for  a county to be effective, it has to involve wide participation so that residents can own the process and added that professionals have useful knowledge and can be less partisan than politicians in driving the process.

“However, professionals will only gain credibility if they do not fight amongst themselves, are not power hungry and are more committed to  building systems of leadership, accountability and priority plans for their county”, she said and added “It is the foundation that counties establish now that will determine economic superiority and provision of services”

She urged the professional to begin by curving niches by establishment of new economic zones and infrastructure regional leadership, branding the county; establishing networks, including developing a Media strategy for publicizing the importance and aspects of good leadership

Essential to a successful County will be County vetting forums at town halls and media houses where citizens will audit leaders actions and proposals, Ms Nduva said

The Machakos Forum as addressed by water and Irrigation Minister Mrs Charity Ngilu who told professional not to let politicians set the mood for the future. Others at the forum included the Director of Lukenya Schools Mrs Martha Mulwa, Leading Architect Dr Reuben Mutiso, Veteran Educationist Mr John Mackenzie

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